RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is undergoing a rapid transformation in all spheres of life. The government is working relentlessly to create opportunities for young local talent in all sectors and the Saudi youths are wasting no time to prove their mettle.
Albara Saimaldahar, an architect, is also very excited about the rapid development of the art and culture scene in the Kingdom. “I am happy to see events like Saudi Design Week in Riyadh and Tasmeem in Jeddah.”
Saimaldahar believes such events provide people with an opportunity to know more about art and culture and gives the local talent the chance to showcase their work and interact with the industry’s movers and shakers.
He has been interested in architecture since childhood. “My parents were very supportive and encouraged me in my creative pursuits as a child.”
Recalling his childhood, he said they had a small backyard in their Jeddah home. “I asked my mother to build a room in the backyard for me.” He designed the structure and showed the plan to his parents who not only approved it without hesitation but they also financed it. It was a 2m x 2m cube with two windows and a door. It proved to be his first-ever design and since then his love for architecture has only increased with time. He loves working with wood.
Saimaldahar holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Manchester, UK. He started his career as an architect at a London-based firm, Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP. After two years, he returned to Jeddah and worked on a number of projects. He has also worked as a product development manager at the Binladin Woodwork Factory.
After working on several projects, he thought of starting his own business. His ideas materialized in the form of Dahr Design Studio.
He came up with a novel idea to work with wood. It is called “one for one.” “For each product we sold, we planted a tree,” he said.
A few weeks ago, Saimaldahar attended a workshop in London organized by the British Council and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The two-week event focused on the Gulf region and was held at the 2018 London Design Festival and London Design Biennale. The event provided the participants with an opportunity to interact with creative professionals and designers from across the globe.
The Saudi architect said 12 designers attended the workshop. He said that they shared their experiences and the difficulties they faced in their creative pursuits. “We are continuously learning from other civilizations and from other countries.”
There are many issues that we face like intellectual property rights and how to approach galleries, he said.
“We met people within the industry (at the event) like gallery owners and consultants. We visited a number of exhibition and designer studios to see them at work, ask them questions and spend the day with them.”
Saimaldahar loves working with wood. He loves its beauty and ageless appeal. The talented man is also engaged in architecture projects.